Rokujo no Miyasudokoro (六条御息所)

Rokujo no Miyasudokoro is a fictional character who appears in "Genji Monogatari" (The Tale of Genji). She was a consort of the former crown prince in the era of Emperor Kiritsubo and her name comes from the fact that she had a residence in the vicinity of Rokujo Kyogoku. She was one of Hikaru Genji's first lovers.


She was the daughter of a minister and became a consort to the crown prince at sixteen years old, but lost her husband when she was twenty years old. She had a daughter with the crown prince and the daughter became an Saigu (Imperial Princess appointed to serve the deities of the Ise-jingu Shrine) in "Aoi (Genji Monogatari)" and, after resigning, entered into court as a consort of the Emperor Reizei (Akikonomu Chugu, the second consort of an emperor).

After the crown prince's death, she fell in love with Hikaru Genji who was younger than her.
(Details about the beginning of their love is lacking in "Genji Monogatari." Refer to various views concerning establishment, production and author of Genji Monogatari.)
She was beautiful, elegant, intelligent and well educated but acted superior to others and when Genji eventually found it difficult to deal with her, the intervals between their meetings became longer and longer. Miyasudokoro became obsessed with Genji and longed to monopolize him, but due to her sense of inferiority as an older woman and her pride that she was a high-standing noblewoman, she could not show a frank attitude to him and she subdued her real feelings with the intention not to hurt herself.

Such self-restraint made her into a living wraith and shiryo (spirit of a dead person) later in the story. The jealousy she suppressed came out whenever she lost control and harmed the ladies Genji loved.

There is a view that the first case was as an mononoke (ghost and specter) that killed Yugao, who met Genji in secret in the volume of "Yugao (Genji Monogatari)" and there is a section in the story that suggests it was Miyasudokoro. However, there are many opponents against this view and it is not supported any more.

In the volume of "Aoi," she came across the gissha (ox-drawn carriage) of Aoi no ue (Lady Aoi), who was the legitimate wife of Genji and suffering from morning sickness, at the viewing of the purification ceremony for the Itsukinomiya at Kamo-gawa River during the Kamo Matsuri festival (Aoi Matsuri festival, in the middle of the Day of Cock in April) and received humiliating treatment by Aoi's servants in securing a place. This incident was the trigger for Miyasudokoro to become a living wraith and torment the pregnant Aoi no ue and Genji witnessed her. The scene in which Miyasudokoro notices that her hair and clothing had the smell of mustard (incense used in incantation to exorcise evil spirits) and knew that she herself became a wraith causing harm to Aoi no ue and her trembling in fear is one of the climaxes of the first half of the story.

After that, Aoi no ue safely gave birth to Yugiri, only to die suddenly. Noticing that she lost Genji's love completely, Miyasudokoro accompanies her daughter, who became an itsukinomiya, and enters the nonomiya (palace for princess before becoming an itsukinomiya) in order to give up her relationship with Genji. She went down to Ise-jingu Shrine at the age of thirty with the itsukinomiya ("Sakaki") after a fond final farewell to Genji, who visited her in the nonomiya on September 7 (old calendar). Six years later, when a new emperor came to power and the term of the Itsukinomiya expired, she returned to Kyoto and became a nun. She died from a sickness after reminding the visiting Genji not to become intimate with her daughter and entrusted her daughter's future to him. Although Genji was interested in the itsukinomiya, he followed Miyasudokoro's will and had her enter court as a consort to the Emperor Reizei as Genji's foster daughter and acted as a guardian for her ("Miotsukushi"). Aki no machi section of Rokujoin, which was Genji's later residence, was originally Miyasudokoro's residence and it became a home residence for her daughter Akikonomu Chugu (Autumn-loving consort).

Even after her death, Miyasudokoro tormented Murasakinoue and Onnasannomiya and appeared to complain to Genji (second volume of "Wakana (Genji Monogatari) and "Kashiwagi"). Her daughter, Chugu, heard about the rumor and regretted that her mother had not become a Buddha yet and held a mass for Miyasudokoro ("Suzumushi").

Discrepancies in age

There is a discrepancy between the volume of Kiritsubo and the volume of Sakaki with respect to the age of Miyasudokoro. Therefore, there are two different views; one tells that Miyasudokoro was older than Genji by seven years and the other that it was seventeen years. According to the view that she was seventeen older, she would be forty years old at the time of the volume of "Sakaki."

[Original Japanese]